Steven Greenhut

Steven Greenhut is a senior fellow and Western region director for the R Street Institute. His political views do not reflect the views of the institute.


Suddenly, a Shifting Pension Paradigm?


Sacramento Last month, I wrote a dour column for the Spectator doubting that a significant new appeals court decision in a major pension case would ultimately change the financial trajectory of our state’s pension systems. Bottom line: A court finally agreed that oversized pensions for public-sector workers could be cut going forward, just as is […]

Continue Reading


They’ll Never Learn: Liberal Policies Boost Poverty


Sacramento I was perusing the real-estate listings for Palo Alto, California, and spotted a stylish, remodeled midcentury ranch house with a whopping 1,700 square feet on a postage-stamp lot for a mere $2.6 million. What a deal! There are great jobs all around that lovely Bay Area city, the heart of Silicon Valley and home […]

Continue Reading


PC Segregation Still on the Rise


It’s the start of new school year, so it’s time to hear bizarre stories from the nation’s universities — those politically correct hothouses where seemingly intelligent people enforce rules that appear to have been designed in an insane asylum. After university officials issue their statements and denials, the matter fades from the front pages. But […]

Continue Reading


Jerry Brown Dirties the Climate


Sacramento Gov. Jerry Brown received some media attention last week after he left an angry message on Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims’ voicemail. Angry that Mims had signed a mailer opposing his measure (Proposition 57) to make it easier for “nonviolent” criminals to receive parole, Brown accused her of using “scare tactics that I think […]

Continue Reading


Will Appeals Ruling Sober Up State’s Pension Abusers?


Sacramento California’s hardy band of pension reformers show many of the symptoms of “battered spouse syndrome.” No matter how often they are beaten and ridiculed, they cling to hope. Maybe this time, the state will get its act together and reform a system of profiteering that’s threatening our fiscal future. I’ve heard them say as […]

Continue Reading


Shock: Legislature Does Right Thing on a Liberty Issue!


Sacramento Our left-leaning Legislature isn’t exactly known for its commitment to protecting the constitutional liberties of the citizenry, which is an understatement of great magnitude. When I speak to civic groups about the state Capitol, I often refer to those “scared straight” programs where police take “at risk” youth to prisons to scare them away […]

Continue Reading


Trumping Trump: California Dems Push Ethnic Division


Sacramento Many of us in conservative and libertarian circles are appalled by some of Donald Trump’s ethnically tinged rhetoric. But it’s hard to take seriously those who criticize his divisiveness if they don’t at least acknowledge that the political left keeps playing the same dangerous game. That’s particularly true in California, where Democratic legislators have […]

Continue Reading


Direct Democracy: California’s Last Hope?


Sacramento One of the most far-reaching ideas advanced by 20th century progressives was the reemergence of direct democracy. And no state has taken the idea further than California. In 1911, Gov. Hiram Johnson led changes to the state Constitution to include the initiative, the referendum, and the recall. These tools, he believed, would let voters […]

Continue Reading


Parks in Disarray: An Allegory for California


Sacramento Many of us who stay in California do so in part because of its beauty. As friends and neighbors plot moves to lower-tax, lower-regulation and higher-sanity places such as Nevada or Tennessee, we bitter-enders console ourselves. We’ve got Yosemite, the sequoias, Mount Shasta, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and the rugged coastline. Sure, the social […]

Continue Reading


Unions Are Root Cause of Policing Problems


Even before the chilling murders of police officers in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Kansas City, most conservatives had been rallying around the “boys in blue,” defending law enforcement against allegations it is racially biased and abusive and fearing a new “war on cops.” It’s hard not to feel sympathy for the cause of “law and […]

Continue Reading